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The haircut that helped hit the big time: Shafali Verma

Shafali Verma Source: SBS

At just 17 years of age Shafali Verma is a cricket star on the rise. The Indian batter is one of 8 Indian players in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) this season and she's already shown her worth by helping the Sydney Sixers towards the top of the table. But it wasn't just cricket skills that helped her make the big time.

Shafali Verma is already a star back home in India. 

Around a quarter of a million Instagram followers is proof of that.

Her rise to prominence has been noticed by important cricket figures. 

Her deeds have earned high praise from the most famous Indian batter of all time Sachin Tendulkar .

It could all have been so different had she not stuck to her goals.  

Aged 12 she was turned down by her local academy in Rohtak, just outside Delhi, because they feared the ball would hurt her if she got hit.  

So she simply cut her hair and was able to return because no-one noticed she was a girl. 

Verma says that haircut helped her make the big time. 

So that is so difficult in the start to play with the boys but my father said that it’s a good opportunity for you to play with the boys.  So I just backed myself because I know I am playing with the boys so it is going to help with the girls.

By the age of 17 years and 150 days,  she became the youngest Indian, male or female,  to make her debut across all formats of the game.

And her burgeoning talent has already helped the Sixers,  when a superb half century sealed victory against the Hobart Hurricanes last weekend.

Her coach says her input has been important to the early success of his side this season. 

Ben Sawyer prizes her skills so highly he's been happy to shake up the batting order, with Australia star Alyssa Healy moved further down.

To have someone of Shafali’s skills up front meant that we can move a few people around so that’s why Alyssa’s dropped down a little bit but things might change during the tournament but having her up front has really strengthened the middle order I think.

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